The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

Let's Go or Walk

Training your dog to "Walk on a Loose Leash", "Come," "Sit," "Down" and "Stay" on command make walking with your dog easier and more enjoyable.

First, practice these exercises in areas that are free from distractions, and then move on to training in areas that have more distracting elements.

"Walking on a Loose Leash" is a great exercise to teach your dog, especially if you don't want one arm to be longer than the other! If you'd like, you can teach your dog two different "Walking on a Loose Leash" exercises.

  • One, (let's call it LET’S GO) means your dog can walk anywhere around you on a loose leash, whether it's in front, behind, on the left, or to your right. The rule simply is: No Pulling. The LET’S GO comes in handy when you're the only one on the trail and you want to give your dog a little more freedom to move around and check out interesting smells.
  • The other command, (we'll call it WALK or LET’S WALK) means for your dog to walk on your left side with his head even with your knee, while on a loose leash. LET’S WALK is great to use when there is a lot of traffic on the trail and you need your dog to be in closer proximity to you.

Walking nicely by your side is generally the most difficult behavior to teach a dog and takes the longest time. Luckily once a dog has learned it, it tends to stay learned, unlike “come” which will fade away if not practiced. The first thing to remember is that dogs do what works. If they want to go somewhere and have to pull you along in order to do that, that’s what they will do. I sometimes think dogs figure that’s the price they pay for going where they want. But if pulling on the leash is not successful, they will eventually stop trying. This is why it’s always our fault if our dogs pull; we have given into their behavior.

First of all - no flexi leash. I think a 4' to 6' leash works best. I hold the leash in my right hand BUT the leash is around my back so when we start walking and my dog pulls, it tightens up and pulls him back. If this happens, stop and when he realizes you're not going forward he'll come back by your side so then start walking again. I do this silently with an occasional GOOD when he returns to my side. The first walk you take may only get you to the end of your driveway in 20 minutes but eventually your dog will get the idea that to move forward, there has to be a loose leash!!

Please Note: You may in other classes have been told to use the word HEEL. This is not wrong but if you’re planning to do competitive obedience, you may want to save the word HEEL for then. Heel tells your dog to stay directly on your left side with his nose even with the seam in your pant leg, to sit straight automatically at your side when you stop and to keep his pace adjusted to your pace. When heeling, your dog is not allowed to sniff, investigate, toilet or wander about on-leash. Heeling is a very formal behavior. Heel is a position, not an action.